Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video What quality tools are available?, part of Project Management Foundations: Quality.
- Imagine you are driving and, suddenly, your car comes to a complete stop. You push it off the road, and you call a tow truck to get you going again. Imagine you're doing this and the truck shows up quickly, but the driver has no tools to repair your vehicle. I think you'd be shocked if that happened. Well, life isn't all that different for you as a Project Manager. As you produce deliverables, you're expected to ensure the quality of those deliverables is sufficient.
To do that, you need tools. Tools can vary greatly from project to project, based on the nature of the products you're producing. However, there are common tools and approaches you can use to help you produce the quality products your client deserves. Here's a brief overview of a few of those tools. First is Pareto Analysis. The idea of Pareto Analysis is to quantify and classify the nature of any errors or quality deficiencies you encounter with your products, and then to quantify and classify root causes for those issues.
A typical Pareto Analysis Graph looks like this. As you can see, the x-axis shows the types of quality problems you have, in descending order. The y-axis shows you the number of instances of each type of problem you are having. These graphs ensure you work on the right problem at the right time. The second quality tool to share is Quality Function Deployment, or QFD. This tool is very useful when you are balancing conflicting requirements.
For instance, you may be building a car and be told you need to produce doors that are light and easy to close, but also doors that have a solid feel and sound solid and secure when closing them. These contrasting requirements can be difficult to meet without tradeoffs. In IT, you may be asked to produce screens that make it easy to find information, along with being asked to put lots of info on the screen. Again, these can be in conflict.
QFD typically uses a House of Quality Graph to demonstrate these requirements and quality contrasts. As you can see, characteristics are listed across the top, and requirements on the side of the House. Each of the characteristics are compared to the requirements to see if they are complementary or contrasting. You can use this to work with your client on the appropriate balance with what you deliver that will satisfy their needs.
The last two tools to share are Testing and Six Sigma. Testing a product to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of your client should be performed many times during the life of your project. We will discuss testing extensively in other videos in this course as it is vital for you to produce quality products. Six Sigma is an approach that is quite popular, and is intended for use when frequently executing processes or frequently producing products.
Six Sigma uses mathematical variance to determine what range of results are being produced by your project's processes. You can then determine if those ranges are acceptable, and what has caused any out of acceptable range results. For example, you may be producing widgets that are supposed to be two inches long. Due to the machine you're using and its operation, what actually is produced may be 2.001 inches long. That may be acceptable, but 2.003 inches would not suit your client.
Six Sigma analysis is used to examine those output variances and determine how you can correct any production issues. So, there you have it. Some quality tools for your toolkit. If you want to learn more about any or all of these techniques, I discuss each of these in detail in the next set of videos.
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- Define project quality.
- Identify quality-planning components.
- Perform quality assurance.
- Examine the cost of quality.
- List types of quality tools.
- Describe the tenets of Pareto analysis.
- Explain the House of Quality approach.
- Apply Lean Six Sigma.
- Test deliverables and roles.